Get our free newsletter
From now until April’s special election for the Ward 8 seat, more than a dozen candidates will try to be Marion Barry‘s political heir. But who the mayor-for-life wanted as his literal heir isn’t so clear, since, according to new court filings, the mayor-for-life didn’t leave behind a will.
Court documents and papers obtained by LL through an open records request lay out what Barry left behind when he died last year. The list includes roughly $16,000 in assets, nearly $60,000 in unpaid tax bills, and an open ethics board investigation into how he created his memoir.
Barry’s estate includes $14,740.35 in a bank account and his frequently troubled 2002 Jaguar (estimated value: $1,705), for a total estate value of $16,445.35. Just how much of that will go to wife Cora Masters Barry and son Marion C. Barry isn’t clear, though, because Barry still has $57,418.35 in unpaid federal and District tax bills and $6,500 in unpaid funeral bills.
Lawyer A. Scott Bolden, who’s representing Barry’s widow in the case, didn’t respond to LL’s request for comment.
Barry’s estate also includes possessions of less clear value: the use of Barry’s likeness and royalties from his memoir, Mayor for Life. Just how Barry created his book, though, was an open question when he died.
In one of LL’s last conversations with Barry, the mayor-for-life noted that there weren’t any repercussions for him after an LL story showed Barry’s D.C. Council staffer worked on his book during business hours. In fact, according to records obtained by LL through the Freedom of Information Act, the Board of Ethics and Government Accountability was investigating the same thing up until Barry’s death.
BEGA, which had already fined Barry once, asked the Council for copies of emails between Barry and his staffers. BEGA’s memo on the investigation notes that at least one Barry Council staffer worked on his book. A week after Barry died, BEGA voted to close the case.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery